Tomorrow is R U OK? Day...a national day of action which aims to prevent suicide by encouraging Australians to connect with someone they care about and help stop little problems turning into big ones. This is one day that I fully support with all my heart.
"Staying connected with others is crucial to our general health and wellbeing. Feeling isolated or hopeless can contribute to depression and other mental illnesses, which can ultimately result in suicide. Regular, meaningful conversations can protect those we know and love. It's so simple. In the time it takes to have a coffee, you can start a conversation that could change a life." extract from RUOK websitePeople that suffer from depression display many symptoms:
- Lowered self-esteem
- Change in sleep patterns
- Change in mood control
- Varying emotions throughout the day
- Change in appetite and weight
- Reduced ability to enjoy things
- Reduced ability to tolerate pain
- Reduced sex drive
- Suicidal thoughts
- Impaired concentration and memory
- Loss of motivation and drive
- Increase in fatigue
- Change in movement
- Being out of touch with reality
I can tick every.single.box. The last three months have been some of the hardest in my entire life. Sinking into a deep depression and feeling like there was no way out. I sleep a lot. I have trouble smiling and don't even sing along to my favourite songs in the car (very unlike me). My concentration levels are pretty much non-existent. I've had to disconnect from the world occasionally. These are just a few of the signs I'm displaying that all is not OK. My husband saw that I wasn't myself. We talked about it and he asked me to see my doctor. I am thankful he did. I've been prescribed a different medication (higher dose) and so far, so good. In the meantime though, I have let a lot of things slide and let down a lot of people, including myself. I have a lot of catching up to do. Please be patient with me. I don't know when I'll be "me" again...but I'm hoping its soon. Maybe there's a new kind of "me" to discover.
Hubby shared a story with me recently. I don't normally read the sports section of the paper, however Matt Cross' battle with bipolar moved me. Professional footballers always appear to be so tough on the exterior, but they have the same issues as everybody else. It warms my heart so deeply to read that Matt was supported by his friends and family in his time of need. What would have happened if someone didn't ask him if he was OK? I hate to think. Matt is now giving back to the NRL by teaching young players that its OK to ask for help.
Just to repeat...it is OK to ask for help, but sometimes the conversation needs to be started by someone else. Please, start a conversation today...
What else can you do? There are a number of resources available on the R U OK? website for work, school, uni, sport and health. I have printed out and displayed the posters and contact numbers on the OHS notice board in my workplace. If it helps one person, it has done its job.
Do you need help? Please contact your local gp, speak to someone you trust or one of the agencies listed here.